Yakuza 5 Review – The Ultimate Japan Simulator
Ever wanted to experience what Japan has to offer, but can’t afford the ticket? Does SEGA have the game for you. Yakuza 5 could quite possibly be the most robust game to date.
Yakuza 5 Review
Those familiar with the previous games in the series will know what to expect here. Series mainstay Kazuma Kiryu makes an appearance, as does Haruka and many other characters. Though each of these characters has a rich backstory spread across multiple games, those unfamiliar with the Dragon of Dojima will understand what is going on, and will only miss a few references. Split between five characters both old and new, Yakuza 5’s story of politics and intrigue will keep you hooked among its 30+ hour playtime. Just be ready for the jump between play styles – the game jumps from escaped convicts to pop idols to Yakuza members during the duration of the game.
Said story takes a number of cues from Japanese dramas. Major chairman, pop idols, mountain men and more make for a diverse story spread across areas like Fukuoka, Tokyo, Osaka and more. Everybody has a rich history, and the game will make sure you know every little nugget that makes up their lives. Though cutscenes sometimes drag on, there is a deep tale here for those looking for it.
However, the real draw of Yakuza 5 comes in the things you can do along the way. After all, life is about the journey, not the destination. Even side missions pack meaty stories, covering street racing, touring chefs, and other random happenstances. It’s a perfectly normal occurrence to go from chauffeuring people in taxi rides to slinging ramen to playing arcade games in the space of an hour. This is one game that can even make garbage collecting fun.
Of course, a Yakuza game just isn’t a Yakuza game without a whole lot of good ol’ fashioned street brawlin’. Packing a fighting system remniscent of Die Hard Arcade, players are thrown into random bouts against thugs, other Yakuza and annoying persons while traversing the landscape. Combat controls consist of two attack buttons, a grab, and a dodge and a block. Many fights can get kind of spammy with attacks, but there is an innate thrill to smashing a thugs face down onto the concrete or attacking large crowds with a Christmas tree. Just be warned that combat pops up quite a bit – there is an item that alleviates this burden, but those who are uninitiated will be faced with bouts every couple of minutes.
Yakuza 5 easily gives games like Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4 and even The Witcher 3 a run for their money in terms of the sheer content it brings to the table. Those looking to immerse themselves in a great adventure will have themselves a great time in this lovingly recreated rendition of Japan.